For the second year in a row, the Lunar New Year parade in Vancouver’s Chinatown has been canceled during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, the cultural heritage community, hard hit by anti-Asian racism, welcomes the public to support local businesses and participate in both virtual and personal celebrations, as it welcomes the Year of the Tiger on Tuesday, February 1st.
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Kouign Café is rolling out a limited edition steam basket set filled with a taste of their distinctive White Rabbit cookies – with 20 percent of the revenue for St. Paul’s Hospital.
“It’s really important to celebrate Lunar New Year and keep it alive,” said owner Andrew Han.
“So we just remember where we came from and keep the traditions alive.”
These traditions are more subdued in 2022 as many events go online again.
The corridors of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is decorated with traditional lanterns, and the registered museum offers a variety of cultural festivities on February 5 and 6 – including live storytelling, calligraphy demonstrations and, weather permitting, a city Opera Vancouver performance.
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On January 29, the Hon Hsing Athletic Club orchestrated a special lion dance for the garden’s visitors as the lunar New Year parade stops for the second year.
“It’s a little discouraging not to see a parade happen this year,” said Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens CEO, Lorraine Lowe.
“But you know we’ll be coming back stronger next year.”
Year of the Tiger means courage, bravery and strength – as the hereditary community has shown, while it has been repeatedly hit by anti-Asian hatred during the pandemic.
“It’s a cruel sign of how horrible racism is and can be,” UBC history professor Henry Yu told Global News.
Yu said racism is rooted – and triggered not only by COVID-19, but controversies such as money laundering or high house prices.
“We tend to scapegoat Asians and Chinatown as a symbolic heart in Chinese Canadian history and culture and society, also becoming a target for much of that violence,” Yu said.
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Graffiti vandalism discovered on the south-facing wall of the garden on January 16 was quickly removed before a Global News camera captured a man scribbling on the same wall with a black marker on January 29 – when the Lunar New Year festivities took place place on the other hand.
Despite the continued tagging and street disorder, Yu said Chinatown has long been a symbol of resilience.
“This resilience in a sense is a symbol of hope – especially in a moment like the Chinese lunar new year.”
Kouign Café owner He said he is looking forward to the lunar new year 2022 becoming a new year wrapped in prosperity, good luck, good luck and hope for the future.
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